(1) YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION. Deadline says a TV series based on a Hugo-winning novel is in development: “‘Yiddish Policemen’s Union’ Alt-History Drama Set From Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman, PatMa, Keshet & CBS Studios”.
What if Alaska is home of a big Jewish settlement and the fledgling state of Israel was destroyed? That is the setup of a TV series project based on Michael Chabon’s acclaimed 2007 alternative history book Yiddish Policemen’s Union. CBS TV Studios, Nina Tassler and Denise DiNovi’s PatMa Productions and Keshet Studios have acquired a spec drama script by husband-and-wife writing duo Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. The project will be taken out shortly to premium cable and streaming networks….
Yiddish Policemen’s Union, published in 2007 by HarperCollins, has received the Hugo, Sidewise, Nebula and Ignotus awards. Chabon’s other notable books include Wonder Boys (1995), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), Telegraph Avenue (2012), and Moonglow: A Novel (2016). He received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001.
(2) TOLKIEN COMES TO AMERICA. The Morgan Library & Museum in New York will host the “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth” exhibit from January 25-May 12.
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth celebrates the man and his creation. The exhibition will be the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material for several generations. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Library (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and private lenders, the exhibition will include family photographs and memorabilia, Tolkien’s original illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts, and designs related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.
[It is] an exhibition organized by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford in collaboration with the Morgan Library & Museum, New York with the support of The Tolkien Trust.
(Robin Anne Reid, who toured the exhibit when was at The Bodleian in Oxford, wrote an overview, ”Visiting Middle-Earth”. Reid predicts the Morgan version will not be as large.)
(3) FUTURE TENSE. Each month in 2018 Future Tense Fiction — a series of short stories from Future Tense and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives— published a story on a theme. A new story came out December 29: “When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis” by Annalee Newitz.
It was time to start the weekly circuit. Robot leapt vertically into the air from its perch atop the History Museum in Forest Park, rotors humming and limbs withdrawn into the smooth oval of its chassis. From a distance, it was a pale blue flying egg, slightly scuffed, with a propeller beanie on top. Two animated eyes glowed from the front end of its smooth carapace like emotive headlights. When it landed, all four legs and head extended from portals in its protective shell, the drone was more like a strangely symmetrical poodle or a cartoon turtle. Mounted on an actuator, its full face was revealed, headlight eyes situated above a short, soft snout whose purple mouth was built for smiling, grimacing, and a range of other, more subtle expressions.
It was published along with a response essay by AI programmer Janelle Shane, “No Robot Like Robot”
In 2018 the A.I. robot CIMON was sent to the International Space Station—and that’s when the awkwardness began. A floating sphere with a digital face displaying a few simple expressions, CIMON was supposed to help astronauts through many-step procedures by displaying information and answering questions. When astronaut Alexander Gerst tested it, he found CIMON’s maneuverability impressive but its social awareness perhaps less so. It had been programmed to know Gerst’s favorite song, but had to be ordered multiple times to stop playing it. “Let’s sing along with those favorite hits,” it interrupted, as Gerst tried to get it to record video. Moments later it seemed to take exception to Gerst’s mild comments on its flying ability. “Don’t be so mean, please,” it told him. “Don’t you like it here with me?” Soon it seemed CIMON’s mood detection system had a “hangry” category and had confusedly placed Gerst in it. “Oh, dear, I feel you. I can already hear your stomach roaring. Should we take a look for when it is time for food?” CIMON was soon stowed away.
(4) BIO COMICS. Print recommends the “3 Best Biographical Comics of 2018”. First on the list —
Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed The World
editor: Shelly Bond (Black Crown)
In Femme Magnifique, Michelle Obama is quoted as saying, “We’ve got a responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who come before us by doing all that we can to help those who come after us.” And that, in a nutshell, is what this book is helping to accomplish. Appropriately subtitled 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed The World, it includes biographies of Michelle and of Hillary Clinton, Harriet Tubman and Margaret Sanger, Disney’s Mary Blair and Brenda Starr’s Dale Messick, Björk and Laurie Anderson, Ursula K. Le Guin and Elizabeth Cady Stanton… you get the idea.
(5) DC GOES MORE UNLIMITED. According to a press release from DC —
DC, comiXology, and Amazon have announced that select DC and DC Vertigo titles are now available through multiple subscription services at no additional cost: comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited, and Prime Reading. Expanding availability to these three services makes it easier than ever for Amazon customers to enjoy DC’s Super Heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Justice League, as well as DC Vertigo’s high concept series like Sandman, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, 100 Bullets, Fables, and more.
With the addition of thousands of select DC single issues, collections and graphic novels – including exclusive fan-favorites from the DC Vertigo imprint – comiXology Unlimited remains $5.99 a month with a 30-day free trial for new members. Kindle Unlimited members will also enjoy a selection of single issues, collections and graphic novels, while subscribers of Prime Reading will have access to a curated and rotating list of highly regarded DC and DC Vertigo graphic novels, for no additional cost. This expansion across the three services provides the perfect entry points for those new to DC and DC Vertigo.
(6) EXTRA TREKS. More Trek animation and “Short Treks” are on the way says The Hollywood Reporter: “‘Star Trek’: Second Animated Series, More ‘Short Treks’ Coming to CBS All Access”.
Alex Kurtzman tells The Hollywood Reporter that there will be a “minimum of two” animated series as he continues to build out the franchise.
Alex Kurtzman isn’t done building out the Star Trek franchise for CBS All Access.
The franchise captain has plans for at least one more animated series to join the previously announced Star Trek: Lower Decks, the half-hour animated comedy from Mike McMahan (Rick and Morty). Additionally, CBS All Access has ordered two more installments of shortform series Star Trek: Short Treks — both of which will be animated. Both installments will debut in the spring, after Star Trek: Discovery wraps its second season on CBS All Access.
(7) PICARD. And another Hollywood Reporter article, “‘Star Trek’ Boss: Picard Leads “Radically Altered” Life in CBS All Access Series”, hints at the answer to the other big Trek question —
What is the next chapter in the life of Jean-Luc Picard?
That’s the question Star Trek diehards have been asking since August, when Patrick Stewart officially boarded an untitled CBS All Access series that will see him play Picard for the first time since 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. Little is known about the plot of the show, which has been described as an exploration of the next chapter of Picard’s life. Fans have speculated that it will find him serving as an ambassador, just as Leonard Nimoy’s Spock did in the later years of his life.
Now, Trek captain Alex Kurtzman is pulling back the curtain on the upcoming project, revealing that a cataclysmic event depicted in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek movie impacted Picard in a big way. In that film, written by Kurtzman and former producing partner Roberto Orci, it was revealed that Nimoy’s Spock failed to save the Romulan homeworld Romulus from a supernova several years after the events of Nemesis.
(8) SPACE COMMAND. Mr. Sci-Fi, Marc Scott Zicrees, discusses his Space Command pilot.
A hopeful vision of the future spanning the galaxy! Starring Ethan McDowell, Doug Jones, Robert Picardo, Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan.
(9) SAMUEL L. JACKSON. The coolest ever: “120 Movies, $13 Billion in Box Office: How Samuel L. Jackson Became Hollywood’s Most Bankable Star “.
He arrives exactly on schedule, not a minute early, not a minute late, and comes dressed in character: Armani cashmere shirt, translucent Alain Mikli eyeglasses and, of course, a Kangol cap. There are no formalities, no handshakes, no, “Hi, nice to meet you, I’m Samuel L. Jackson.” He simply strolls into the restaurant in midtown Manhattan — a short walk from the $13 million condo he shares with his wife of 38 years, LaTanya Richardson, who’s currently starring as Calpurnia in Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird — slips into a corner booth and buries his face behind a menu.
“Go ahead,” he says. “I’m listening.”
This is how the world’s most successful actor begins an interview.
(10) IO TRAILER. Io is a new sff series coming to Netflix on January 18:
Sam, one of the last survivors on a post-cataclysmic Earth, is a young scientist dedicated to finding a way for humans to adapt and survive, rather than abandon their world. But with the final shuttle scheduled to leave the planet for a distant colony, her determination to stay is rocked by the arrival of another survivor, Micah. She must decide whether to journey with him to join the rest of humanity and begin life anew, or stay to fight for Earth’s survival.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born January 9, 1890 — Karel Capek. Author of the his 1936 novel War with the Newts and 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), which introduced the word robot. R.U.R.was a dystopian work about a really bad day at a factory populated with sentient androids. ISFDB shows two additional works by him, Krakatit: An Atomic Fantasy and The Absolute at Large which I’ve not heard of. (Died 1938.)
- Born January 9, 1931 – Algis Budrys. I trying to remember what I read by him him and I think it was Some Will Not Die which I remember because of the 1979 Starblaze edition cover. I’ve also read and enjoyed his Rogue Moon. Setting aside his work as a writer which was exemplary, he was considered one of our best genre reviewers ever reviewing for Galaxy, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and genre reviews even in the more mainstream Playboy. He edited a number of the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future anthologies which I’ll admit I’ve not read any of. (Died 2008.)
- Born January 9, 1950 – David Johansen, 69. He’s the wisecracking Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooged, he played Halston in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie in “The Cat from Hell” episode, and he appeared as a character named Brad in Freejack.
- Born January 9, 1955 — J.K. Simmons, 64. You may know him as J. Jonah Jameson in the various Spider-Man films but I find his more interesting genre role to be as Howard Silk in the Counterpart series where he plays two versions of himself in two versions of parallel Berlins in a spy service that may or may not exist. He also portrayed Commissioner James Gordon in Justice League.
- Born January 9, 1956 – Imelda Staunton, 63. Voice of the Snow Queen in The Snow Queen’s Revenge, A Nurse in Shakespeare in Love, Polly in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dolores Jane Umbridge In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which I thought was a so-so film at best) and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as well and Knotgrass In Maleficent and the sequel.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- Candorville shows some people look farther ahead than others.
(13) RICHARD & WENDY PINI. SYFY Wire’s “Behind the Panel” interviews “Elfquest Creators On How They Met & Jack Kirby Stories You Never Knew.”
Richard & Wendy Pini have been the creative force behind Elquest for 40 years. And now it’s ending. They tell us what the future holds, how they met (it’s AWESOME), Jack Kirby stories & more. These two are just the best – and this interview will show you.
(14) PRE-THRONES CASTING. “‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Casts 8 Rising Stars “ – The Hollywood Reporter tells who they are:
The cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel is coming together.
The premium cable network has cast eight rising stars to join Naomi Watts and Josh Whitehouse in the pilot from writers Jane Goldman and franchise mastermind George R.R. Martin. Additionally, SJ Clarkson (Jessica Jones, Succession and the upcoming Star Trek feature) has been tapped to direct the pilot.
Cast as series regulars are Naomi Ackie (next appearing in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars), Denise Gough (Guerrilla, Tony-nominated for Angels in America), Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd, Twilight, Mortal Instruments), Sheila Atim (Harlots), Ivanno Jeremiah (Black Mirror, Humans), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia), Alex Sharp (To the Bone) and Toby Regbo (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald).
As with all things Game of Thrones, details about their characters are being kept under wraps. The only character detail that has been revealed is that Watts is taking on the role of a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret.
(15) AND PRE-GRRM. The PBS series Finding Your Roots kicked off its fifth season with “Grandparents and Other Strangers”, which includes a session with George R.R. Martin.
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps actor Andy Samberg and author George R. R. Martin answer some family mysteries when DNA detective work uncovers new branches of their family trees. The DNA analysis upends family history and reveals new relatives.
(16) IN FLUX. The Washington Post’s John Kelly tracks down the “big nerd” and ’80s sci-fi movie fan who put an ad in the Post asking for a “flux capacitor” like that in Back to the Future: “Who placed a classified ad in The Washington Post looking for a flux capacitor?”
A mysterious ad appeared over the weekend in The Washington Post Classifieds, under the Electronics category, sandwiched between Collectibles and Furniture. It took up three lines and it read: “WANTED — Flux Capacitor — Needed to complete an important project. Must be in good condition. 571-444-5995.”
Because, after all, what use is a busted flux capacitor? You’d never get your DeLorean to achieve time travel, as explained in “Back to the Future,” that documentary movie released in 1985.
I called the number and got a recording. It was of a harried-sounding man saying, “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, we’re gonna see some serious [stuff].”
I left a message and my cellphone number….
…He collects replicas of movie props, including the hoverboard that Marty McFly rode and the self-lacing Nikes he wore. Doc even owns a DeLorean. (“I’m in one right now, waiting to go to lunch,” he said.)
Doc’s stunt — placing “Back to the Future”-inspired ads — reminded me of the 2014 movie “Safety Not Guaranteed,” based on a joke ad a writer placed inviting people to travel back in time with him.
(17) A TRANS-FJORD TUNNEL, HUZZAH! “Norway Embarks On Its Most Ambitious Transport Project Yet” and NPR is there:
Driving the nearly 700 miles along the coastal route from the city of Kristiansand in the south to the city of Trondheim now takes about 21 hours and requires seven ferry crossings. To cut travel time in half, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has launched a nearly $40 billion transportation project that will include the world’s longest floating bridge and — perhaps — a first-of-its-kind floating underwater traffic tunnel.
Daniel Dern sent the link with a note that “This article has what could easily become my favorite proverb for the new year: ‘It’s a saying that there’s nothing in the world that is in a bigger rush than a dead fish,’ Kleppe says.”
(18) SEXISM AT CES. BBC reports “‘Award-winning’ sex toy for women withdrawn from show”.
A sex toy designed for women has been banned from the technology show CES.
Lorna DiCarlo said it had been invited to display its robotic Ose vibrator at CES, after winning an innovation award.
CES organiser the Consumer Technology Association, which granted the award, said it had included the device by mistake and could withdraw any immoral or obscene entry at any time.
Lorna DiCarlo chief executive Lora Haddock said the CES and CTA had a history of gender bias.
In a statement to The Next Web, the CTA said: “The product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted.
“We have apologised to the company for our mistake.”
But, in a statement on the Lora DiCarlo website, Ms Haddock cites several examples of other female-oriented products included in the award category the vibrator was in.
“Two robotic vacuum cleaners, one robotic skateboard, four children’s toys, one shopping companion robot – looks like all of women’s interests are covered, right?” she said.
…Ms Haddock said there was a double-standard at CES when it came to sexual health products targeted at men versus women.
“Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit, with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and VR porn in point of pride along the aisle,” she said.
(19) CLEANUP ON VEIN SIX. A kind of advance in fighting cancer: “Sponge offers hope of ‘less toxic’ chemotherapy”.
Scientists believe they may have found a way to make cancer chemotherapy treatment less toxic to the body.
They have begun testing a tiny sponge that sits inside a vein and removes excess chemo drugs from the blood once they have attacked the target tumour.
Experts say the early work, in the journal ACS Central Science, offers hope of avoiding treatment side-effects, such as hair loss and nausea.
So far, it has been tried in pigs, but researchers want to test it in people.
If all goes well, those trials could happen within a couple of years, says scientist Dr Nitash Balsara, from the University of California.
(20) YOU BOUGHT IT, YOU UN-BREAK IT. “Climate change: ‘Right to repair’ gathers force” – BBC has the story.
It is frustrating: you buy a new appliance then just after the warranty runs out, it gives up the ghost.
You can’t repair it and can’t find anyone else to at a decent price, so it joins the global mountain of junk.
You’re forced to buy a replacement, which fuels climate change from the greenhouse gases released in the manufacturing process.
But help is at hand, because citizens in the EU and parts of the USA will soon get a “right to repair” – of sorts.
This consists of a series of proposals from European environment ministers to force manufacturers to make goods that last longer and are easier to mend.
The European proposals refer to lighting, televisions and large home appliances.
At least 18 US states are considering similar laws in a growing backlash against products which can’t be prised apart because they’re glued together, or which don’t have a supply of spare parts, or repair instructions
(21) EQUAL TIME. Cthulu’s response to President Trump’s speech last night:
(22) MAGNOLIA PARK. Help save John King Tarpinian’s favorite Burbank neighborhood:
The retro charm of Burbank’s unique shops is what makes Magnolia Boulevard a must-visit destination for all. Beloved by the community and visited by people worldwide, we are now in danger of losing everything that makes this strip unique.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Bill, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]